John Horan: GAA ‘could do no more’ to help LGFA avoid venue switch controversy

GAA PRESIDENT John Horan says the Association did all they could to facilitate the LGFA in the controversy over the All-Ireland ladies football semi-final. 

The game between Cork and Galway was moved to Croke Park on the morning of the game earlier this month, after the Parnell Park pitch was deemed unplayable. 

It was the second change of venue for the last-four clash in a week. It had been set for the LIT Gaelic Grounds, before being moved as Limerick’s hurlers required the stadium for a training session ahead of their All-Ireland final.

With the switch to GAA HQ, the game was brought forward from 1.30pm to 1pm, but it did not start on time as Galway arrived to Croke Park late. The game, which Cork ultimately won, was due to be broadcast live by TG4 but that wasn’t then possible due to the venue switch.

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“From a GAA point of view, I felt we could do no more,” John Horan said on Morning Ireland earlier.

“I was contacted that morning at 10.20am and two phone calls later we actually had staff in and Croke Park available for the game to be played.

“The CEO of the LGFA, Helen O’Rourke, contacted me and asked me for an extra 10 minutes that Galway had requested and it was given, they started the game at 10 past.

“From my involvement in it, and the GAA’s involvement in it was to make the pitches available. We acceded to every request, except, with eight days’ notice, Limerick had to be taken off the clár.”

The semi-final was fixed for that weekend — and then in Limerick — to help avoid a camogie fixture clash for some of Cork’s dual stars and the issue brought into focus the question of amalgamation of the GAA, the LGFA and the Camogie Association.   

“Yesterday, we had a meeting at a very high level between myself, the Ard Stiúrthóir (director general, Tom Ryan) and our counterparts in the LGFA. We’re having one with Camogie this evening,” Horan told Mary Wilson.

“These are meetings that were long planned, we’ve had a memorandum of understanding for the last three years, and we’re looking for a meeting with (Sport Ireland CEO) John Treacy in January to outline the amount of co-operation that is going on.
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“We’re working very closely together. We don’t have an issue with any of these situation; there’s a very good working relationship. I feel people are focusing on one negative aspect of the relationship between the three organisations.”

GAA president, John Horan and Tom Ryan.

Source: Tom O’Hanlon/INPHO

The Association chief also admitted he was ‘probably as nervous as (managers) Liam Cahill and John Kiely in the context of how the post-match celebrations would go’ last weekend but praised the response to the calls for responsible celebrations in the wake of the hurling decider.

“We have repeated the same procedures this week with Dublin and Mayo. We have engaged with local media to get that message out to people to celebrate but in a safe manner.

“I always say, don’t tarnish the success of any team by it being caught up in a controversy of the pandemic increasing in a particular area,” he added. 

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